Hugh Jackman (born October 12, 1968) is an Australian actor/producer
who is involved in film, musical theatre, and television.
A singer, dancer and actor in stage musicals, principally The Boy From Oz, Hugh has won international recognition for his roles in major films, notably as action/superhero, period and romance characters. He is most well known from his roles in the X-Men series, Kate & Leopold, Van Helsing, The Prestige, The Fountain and Australia.
In November 2008, People magazine named Hugh "Sexiest Man Alive."
A three-time host of the Tony Awards, Hugh hosted the 81st Academy Awards on February 22, 2009.
Hugh was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, the youngest of five children of English parents Chris Hugh and Grace Watson, and the second of his siblings to be born in Australia. (He also has a younger half sister.) His mother left the family when he was eight years old, and he remained with his accountant father and siblings.
Hugh attended the all-boys Knox Grammar School, where he starred in its production of the musical My Fair Lady in 1985. The following year he spent a gap year working at Uppingham School in England. On his return to Australia he studied at the University of Technology, Sydney, graduating in 1991 with a BA in Communications. After obtaining his BA, Hugh went on in 1991 to complete the one year course "The Journey" at the Actors' Centre in Sydney.
After completing the course he was offered a role on the popular soap opera Neighbors, but turned it down to attend the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts of Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia, from which he graduated in 1994.
On stage in Melbourne, Hugh played Gaston in the local Walt Disney production of Beauty and the Beast and Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard. During his stage musical career in Melbourne, he starred in the 1998 Midsumma festival cabaret production Summa Cabaret. He also hosted Melbourne's Carols by Candlelight and Sydney's Carols in the Domain.
Jackman's early film work includes Erskineville Kings and Paperback Hero (1999), while his television work includes Correlli (a 10 part drama series on the ABC and Jackman's first major professional job, devised by Australian actress Denise Roberts and where he also met his future wife, Deborra-Lee Furness), Law of the Land, Halifax f.p., Blue Heelers, and Banjo Paterson's The Man from Snowy River.
Hugh became known outside of Australia in 1998, when he played the leading role of Curly in the Royal National Theatre's acclaimed stage production of Oklahoma!, in London's West End. The performance earned him an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. He also starred in the 1999 television version of the stage classic 1999 film version of the same stage musical, which has been screened in many countries.
In 2000, Hugh was cast as Wolverine in Bryan Singer's X-Men, replacing Dougray Scott. His co-stars include Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, James Marsden, Famke Janssen and Anna Paquin. According to a CBS interview in November 2006, Jackman's wife Deborra-Lee Furness told him not to take the role, a comment she later told him she was glad he ignored.
Jackman, at 6' 2", stands nearly a foot taller than Wolverine, who is said in the original comic book to be 5' 3". Hence, the filmmakers were frequently forced to shoot Hugh at unusual angles or only from the waist up to make him appear shorter than he actually is. Hugh was also required to add a great deal of muscle for the role, and in preparing for the fourth film in the series, he bench-pressed over 300 pounds. An instant star upon the film's release, Hugh later reprised his role in 2003's X-Men 2, 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, released April 29, 2009 in Australia
Hugh starred as Leopold, opposite Meg Ryan , in the 2001 romantic comedy film Kate & Leopold, a role for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Hugh plays a Victorian English aristocrat who is accidentally time-traveled to 21st-century Manhattan, where he meets Kate, a cynical advertising executive.
In 2001, Hugh also starred in the action/drama Swordfish, with John Travolta, and Halle Berry. This was the second time Hugh worked with Berry, and the two have worked together twice more in the X-Men movies, making a total of four movies starring Hugh and Berry from 2000 to 2006.
Hugh went on to host NBC's Saturday Night Live later that year, on December 8, 2001.
In 2002, Hugh sang the role of Billy Bigelow in the musical Carousel in a special concert performance at Carnegie Hall.
In 2004, Hugh won the Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical, for his 2003–2004 Broadway portrayal of Australian songwriter and performer Peter Allen, in the hit musical, The Boy from Oz, which he also performed in Australia in 2006.
In addition, Hugh hosted the Tony Awards in 2003, 2004, and 2005, garnering very positive reviews. His hosting of the 2004 Tony Awards earned him an Emmy Award win for Outstanding Individual Performer in a Variety, Musical or Comedy program in 2005.
After 2003's X2: X-Men United, in 2004 Hugh played the title role of vampire hunter Gabriel Van Helsing in the film Van Helsing.
In 2005, Hugh filmed the parts of three different characters in Darren Aronofsky's 2006 science-fiction film The Fountain. As Tommy Creo, a neuroscientist, Hugh plays a man who was torn between his wife, Izzi (Rachel Weisz) who is dying of a brain tumor, and his work at trying to cure her. As Captain Tomas Creo, Hugh plays a Spanish Conquistador in 1532 Seville who is seeking the mythical Tree of Life for his queen, Isabel (also played by Weisz), in order to retain her throne. Captain Tomas is actually a character in the book Izzi is writing called The Fountain. Jackman's third character is the future astronaut, Tom, travelling to a golden nebula in an eco-spacecraft and seeking to be reunited with Izzi. Hugh said The Fountain was his most difficult film thus far, due to the physical and emotional demands of the part.
Also in 2005, Hugh was one of the choices to play James Bond, in 2006's Casino Royale, but eventually lost out to Daniel Craig.
Hugh starred in the 2006 film The Prestige, directed by Christopher Nolan and also starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Andy Serkis and David Bowie. As Robert Angier, Hugh portrayed a magician who built up a rivalry with contemporary Alfred Borden in attempt to 'one up' each other in the art of deception. Hugh stated that his main reason for doing The Prestige was to work with the musician Bowie, who played scientist Nikola Tesla.
He also starred in Woody Allen's 2006 film Scoop, opposite Scarlett Johansson. He rounded out 2006 with two animated films: Happy Feet, directed by George Miller, in which he voiced the part of Memphis, an emperor penguin, and Flushed Away, where Hugh also supplied the voice of a rat named Roddy who ends up being flushed down his Kensington family's toilet into the London sewer system. Flushed Away also starred Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen (the fourth time Hugh has worked with him), Jean Reno, Andy Serkis (the second time Hugh has worked with him, the first being in The Prestige) and Bill Nighy.
In 2007, Hugh produced and guest-starred in the television musical-dramedy series Viva Laughlin, which was canceled by CBS after two episodes. A decision about the remaining episodes already filmed at the time of cancellation has yet to be made. Jackman's 2008 movies included Deception (which he starred in and produced), Uncle Jonny, and Australia.
In 2008, director Baz Luhrmann cast Hugh to replace Russell Crowe as the male lead in his much-publicized epic film, Australia, which co-stars Nicole Kidman. The movie was released in late November 2008 in Australia and the U.S.
Hugh plays a tough, independent cattle drover, who reluctantly helps an English noblewoman in her quest to save both her philandering husband's Australian cattle station and the (half-caste) mixed-race Aboriginal child she finds there.
Of the movie, Hugh says, "This is pretty much one of those roles that had me pinching myself all the way through the shoot. I got to shoot a big-budget, shamelessly old-fashioned romantic epic set against one of the most turbulent times in my native country's history, while, at the same time, celebrating that country's natural beauty, its people, its cultures.... I'll die a happy man knowing I've got this film on my CV."
This Hugh Jackman Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub